The Seattle Mariners Jake Bauers points the way to victory hitting a two run single in the top of the ninth as the Mariners get a three run rally past the Oakland A’s at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)
Seattle 5 – 10 – 1
Oakland 3 – 6 – 0
By Lewis Rubman
Monday August 23, 2021
OAKLAND–After two consecutive days of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, just how dire are the straits the Oakland A’s (70-56) find themselves in? Let’s look at what the statistically informed folks at fangraphs have to say on the topic.
They give the Athletics a 7.4% chance of winning the AL West pennant and a 23.2% chance of securing a wild card berth. That figure jumps to a 30.6% chance of getting into the playoffs and falls to 8% and 3.4% forsurviving the division and championship series, respectively before dropping to a 1.6% shot at taking the World Series.
By contrast, fangraphs gives the Rays, Yankees, White Sox, and Astros at least a 96% chance of winning the AL playoffs. They figure that the White Sox are 99.9% sure of making the playoffs.
So the situation’s not hopeless, but let’s enjoy the A’s games, rejoycing and suffering with the green and gold without making any plans for October.
Tonight’s contest between Oakland and the Seattle Mariners (68-58), who, with the wind at their back have won nine of their last 13 games and came into the Coliseum only three games behind the Athletics in the race for second place in the AL West, was a hard fought struggle that the visitors ended up winning, 5-3. In spite of the stirring end to the game, it seemed a rather humdrum affair after the frenzy of the weekend epic battles between Oakland and San Francisco.
The attendance was 4,140. The Athletics sent Paul Blackburn to the mound, making his second appearance of the season. His first came on August 18, the day he was called up from Las Vegas and resulted in a 3-2 loss to the White Sox in Chicago, where the A’s righty allowed three runs, all earned, and five hits in only five and a third innings of work.
Seattle’s starter, southpaw Marco Gonazales, brought a four decision winning streak and a 5-5, 4.10) record with him. Matt Chapman was a last minute scratch, owing to a left foot contusion he suffered against the Giants Sunday afternoon. Josh Harrison played third and batted sixth in his stead.
The A’s ran off to a 1-0 advantage in the first, with Mark Canha and Matt Olson executing a one out double steal that led to the former’s scoring on Yan Gomes’s ground out to second. Gomes exended the home team’s lead with a solo home run with one out in the fourth. It was his 12th round tripper of the year and third as an Athletic. It travelled 398 feet into the left field seats and came on a 79 mph change up.
Mitch Haniger wiped that lead off the board in the top of the sixth. After JP Crawford singled to center on a full count to open the frame, Seattle’s DH blasted a 79 mph curve by Blackburn into the left field seats for his 29th dinger of the year, knotting the score at two all.
After retiring Kyle Seger and the red hot Ty France, Blackburn retired for the evening, giving way to Andrew Chafin, who had been bady burned in Saturday afternoon’s heart breaking loss to the Giants. Blackburn’s numbers for tonight indicated a compitent, though not excellent, performance.
He allowed two runs, both earned, in 5-2/3 innnings, allowing five hits but not walking anyone although he uncorked a wild pitch. The threw 85 pitches; 30 were balls. Chafin allowed a full count swinging bunt single to the streaking Abraham Toro before getting Jake Fraley out on a grounder to second.
Oakland pulled ahead in the bottom of the sixth, even though they wasted an opportunity when Marte unwisely tried to extend a one out single to right and got thrown out at second by Jake Bauers . One pitch later, Olson deposited his 32nd home run of the year over the right center field fence.
Gonzales didn’t come out for the home seventh. In his six inning stint, he gave up three runs, all earned, on five hits and, like Blackburn, no walks. He struck out two, and of his 90 pitches, 59 were strikes. His replacement, Erik Swanson surrendered a lead off two bagger to Lowrie. Swanson retired Harrison, Seth Brown, pinch hitting for Pinder, and Sean Murphy to end the threat.
Sergio Romo took over mound duties for Oakand, facing the top of the Mariner line up to start the eighth. He set them down in order, striking out Crawford and Haniger before Marte caught Seager’s fly on the warning track in center.
Seattle brought on Anthonhy Misiewicz to hold the margin between the M´s and the A´s to a single run in the home half of the eighth. He accomplished this in spite of Canha´s reaching first on a throwing error by third baseman Seager. What saved him was the 4-6-3 pitcher’s best friend Olson hit into.
Lou Trivino entered the game in the top of the ninth, looking for the 22nd save that had eluded him Saturday. It eluded him again tonight when Ty France took him deep with a 394 foot home run to right center, his 16th round tripper of the year and tying the score.
The equally torrid Toro followed that with a single to center and advanced to third on Fraley’s resounding double off the left centerfield wall. Trivino came back and struck out Jarred Kalenic and Cal Raleigh, both of them swinging.
But, with the count 2-2 on the ninth place batter, Jake Bauers,. who two innings earlier had thrown Marte out at second, lined a two run producing single to left, lending Trivino’s fruitless labors of the night and brining on Deolis Guerra, who closed out the inning
Paul Sewald, who saved Seattle’s come from behind victory last night in Houston by striking out three Astros with the bases loaded in the tenth, pitched the bottom of the ninth for the M’s. He struck out only one Athletic, Harrison, to end the game and earn his 11th save.
Misiewicz got the win, his fourth against four defeats. His ERA stands at 4.08. Trivino took the loss and was charged with a blown save.
Bleary eyed and bushed, the two teams will meet Tuesday afternoon at 12:37. It will be Cole Irvin (9-11, 3.57) on the mound for the boys from the bay and Chris Flexen for the squad from the sound.